WRITING HOPE IN THE BRONX: LINDA MARY MONTANO & NICOLAS DUMIT ESTEVEZ
What a great opportunity! A chance to be a transgressive twin again, this time not with a rope but with HOPE, binding me invisibly and happily to Nicolas Dumit Estevez for 3 days, 3 hours a day in his Bronx.
About 6 months ago, Nicolas invited me to help him celebrate his incorporation into Bronxdom and I suggested we perform a "HOPE/PIECE/PEACE". This is not the time or place to suggest the 563,000 reasons why hope is our most valuable personal, political, social commodity so I defer to conceptual art reasons to explain why my first idea referenced recycled plastic bags.... I said to Nicolas, "Let's stand on the streets, 3 hours a day, for 3 days and let folks write their hopes on plastic bags with markers. Then we hang the bags in the gallery." It seemed like a good concept coming from an ex-nun who had sworn herself to poverty and simplicity, right?
We agreed and then a few months later he contacted me, we talked and he said, "Do you want to scan the HOPES written on bags and show the scans instead of plastic bags?" Nicolas's sweet voice can convince me of anything and I let go of the simple, green, bag endurance and we agreed. Scan the bags. It seemed like an aesthetic and good fix and raised the level of plastic to fine art, even though it did involve technology, paper and a larger time commitment.
And then a few months later we talked and Nicolas raised the bar! "Let's let them write their hopes on us," he said. "We can wear white clothes!!!!" So in the tradition of our art mentors: Manzoni, Klein, Yoko Ono, Shirin Neshat and a litany of others; in the tradition of the cave painting ritual of signage as symbol, we ventured into Bronx-land and endured while wearing our white art suits. And as walking, talking, transgressing, living sculptures we invited elders, African Muslims, 12 year old school children, folks on the streets, subways, taxis and buses to STOP! DREAM! SHARE LIFE AND HOPE outside the traumas of the daily news and our individual unimaginably complex everyday dramas.
Nicolas, we play good art/life together,
Linda Mary Montano
TO ALL WHO ATTEND THE OPENING /OR READ THIS STATEMENT:
I am attending the opening invisibly and I invite you to collaborate with me by: WHISPERING YOUR HOPE TO THE AIR.